Columbus Monthly’s Best New Restaurants 2023: Fyr in the Short North
Chef Sebastian La Rocca leads the kitchen at this lively live-fire restaurant in the Hilton Columbus Downtown.
Live-fire cooking with blazing wood and smoldering embers is, well, a hot trend in Columbus. As a bustling practitioner of live-fire cooking inside the new, 28-floor Hilton Columbus Downtown tower, Fyr—yes, pronounced “fire”—is so hot, it’s cool.
Chalk that up to its chic-but-informal dining room with a soaring ceiling and sweeping contours; nightclub-evoking ambiance with a chill-out, hip-hop soundtrack and dramatic, low lighting; theatrical open kitchen with dancing, live-fire flames; and the appealing, Latin-leaning menu from talented chef Sebastian La Rocca, who hails from Argentina and is often seen making the rounds to greet guests.
La Rocca often enlivens classics with saucy spins. Fyr’s kielbasa-style, seared Argentine chorizo is accompanied by pun-named Chimi Hendrix—zippy chimichurri sauce accurately described tableside as “so good it rocks.” Golden-brown empanadas are partnered with a tangy, thick and zesty Caribbean dipping sauce.
Sauces and skillful grilling merge into other delights, like a deboned Amish half chicken served with a superior mole sauce, and wildly juicy skirt steak topped with a lime-kicked dressing and arugula salad.
Multinational flavors also deftly merge, a la cheesy gnocchi with chimichurri, and a tostada with high-grade raw tuna flattered by Mexican- and Japanese-style accoutrements. Add polished service and sophisticated cocktails, and you have a blazing hot hotel restaurant.
404 N. High St., Columbus (Short North), 614-484-5286, fyrshortnorth.com
VBBQ: Like the proteins, vegetables spend their time in the fire, too. Beautifully roasted cauliflower accented with lemon plus toasted nuts and breadcrumbs could pass for an entrée atop its harissa-coconut sauce. A cabbage wedge becomes a triumph redolent of woodsmoke, lemon and brown butter. Tomatoes are similarly transfigured via oven-imparted smoke, charred onions, sumac and goat cheese.
Fyr and Ice: At the restaurant’s oblong bar, top-tier (and noticeably spendy) cocktails are shaken in an accommodating variety of styles. You’ll find a smooth yet bright pisco sour; the dark, rich, potent Chef de Tornade made with tequila, mezcal, banana liqueur and cardamom bitters; and the incredibly crisp (from lime zest and ginger) and gently smoky (from scotch) Terre Brune.
Sweet Talk: Fyr’s on-brand, grilled pineapple upside-down cake is flambéed upon presentation by igniting a rum-spiked caramel sauce. Rather than fire, the warmth of family supplies the allure of another dessert: La Rocca’s My Grandmother’s Caramel Flan, an impeccably smooth and wiggly custard paired with irresistible dulce de leche, aka caramelized-milk jam.
This story is from the 2023 Best New Restaurants package in the March 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.